The seminar focussed on the subject of Jürgen Habermas's essay On the Constitution of Europe. The meeting took place in the House of Europe in The Hague and the discussion participants were Frits Bolkestein, former European Commissioner for Internal Market and Frank Ankersmit, professor of intellectual and theoretical history at the University of Groningen.

In the essay, published in late 2011, Habermas criticizes the post-democratic exercise of power by the European Council to existing treaties and thus ignoring the democratic legitimacy of the Union. Habermas outlines an alternative route for this 'creeping integration' resistance that evokes both defenders of the nation state, as proponents of a federal Europe. The alternative of Habermas is based on the premise that a transnationalization of popular sovereignty is possible in the form of a democratic association of nation states. Then there would be a great role in EU decision-making for the individual members of the European populations, which hereby would operate as citizens of a nation state and as citizens of the Union.

The central question was whether the substantial leap forward as put by Habermas is in the direction of political union or a utopian perspective and of no realistic option for European unification. Bolkestein made his opinion on what he called "Habermas' idea of a cosmopolitan community of citizens and state nations" immediately apparent "Barre nonsense of a hollow beaten study scholar." He says the emergence of a transnational democracy is impossible because democracy according to him need always boundaries. A second objection was that Bolkestein argued that the loyalty of the people of Europe lies primarily with the national state, and that he sees no change to come in the near future.

Frank Ankersmit pointed out that according to him an important perspective on European integration structurally missing, namely the historian. He argued that history can function as a total picture, from which it is possible "one step to the future 'to do. Afterwards Ankersmit took the audience to 843, the year as result of the "Partition of Verdun the Rhine as a division line between Germany and France began to act. This tear line according to Ankersmit all conflicts in Europe in subsequent centuries down to that. This lasted until 1945, the year when the Rhine from symbol to stand for a uniting Europe. European integration that has occurred since the Second World War, according to the Schicksal (destiny) of Europe, against which "resistance is futile". Based on this analysis Ankersmit spoke from a supporter of further European integration and faster. A process according to him in a better time to go (as it quickly pulling a patch), then stepwise à la Angela Merkel. Here Ankersmit used the analogy of the EU as a house that lacks a roof, making it even when it rains it rains inside. He indicated behind Guy Verhofstadt, the Belgian MEP and former prime minister who is strong supporter of a federal Europe, to stand.

Bolkestein referred to the reference to the fate of further European integration as deterministic, while in his history really is made by people. A federal Europe, according to Bolkestein will never come here because too many countries are against it, and the loyalty of citizens lies primarily with the nation state. Bolkestein said also to understand that Verhofstadt and Belgian politician is in favor of the merger of the Belgian nation state into a federal Europe, due to internal political problems in Belgium.

Throughout the debate it became clear that both men in different ways to look at the EU. Bolkestein watched the near future and made clear that he preferred "no monetary union which is a debt union". Ankersmit in turn looked at the way the EU so far has made and put on that basis that it is important not too skeptical, but happy and proud with the results achieved.